American Idol's Season 11 was whittled down to the Top 6 on Thursday night, as 20-year-old Colton Dixon was -- to the shock and dismay of many -- sent home after a difficult week of “Then and Now” songs.
Will his fellow finalists have an easier time next week? Some might say that’s unlikely given the theme: songs of Queen. On Wednesday’s show, the contestants will perform with Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, while on Thursday’s show, the Queen Extravaganza will perform along with pop superstar Katy Perry and season 10 alum Stefano Langone.
This marks the second time Idol has chosen a Queen theme. During season 5, the Top 8 was also joined by Brian May and Roger Taylor. Idol fans may recall winner Taylor Hicks, who was also in the audience on Thursday night, nailing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” while Ace Young struggled a bit with the anthemic “We Will Rock You.” During season 8, Queen also performed at the finale, joining Kris Allen and Adam Lambert for “We Are the Champions.”
Lambert has perhaps had the deepest affiliation with the British band, which lost frontman Freddie Mercury to complications from AIDS in 1991. Most recently, he joined May and Taylor for a medley of Queen songs at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards. Lambert was also due to perform with the band at England’s Sonisphere festival at Knebworth on July 7, but that date was canceled.
It was later announced that Queen and Lambert will play two shows at London’s Hammersmith Apollo July 11 and 12 with another appearance scheduled for June 30 at Moscow's Olympic Stadium. (Several show insiders tell THR that Lambert is not expected to appear on next week's show, but as with all things Idol, you never know...)
In a case of ultimate Idol synergy, Katy Perry, who shares management with Lambert, is herself a massive Queen fan and dressed as Freddie Mercury for her 24th birthday in 2008. In September of last year, the singer also posted a Youtube clip of herself singing "Happy Birthday" to the late rocker on what would have been his 65th birthday.